City News Service

Pacoima Father Accused of Unsafe Gun Storage After Son's Alleged Threats

A Pacoima father whose son allegedly threatened to shoot a classmate had multiple criminal charges filed against him for keeping several firearms unsecured in the family home, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Thursday.

"Locking up your guns saves lives, prevents crime and it's the law," Feuer said. "If an unsecured gun falls into the hands of a teenager and is taken to school, it's a recipe for tragedy. This prosecution is one aspect of a collaboration we're announcing today, between elected leaders and gun violence prevention advocates, to prevent future tragedies."

Albert Sanchez, 48, was charged with two criminal counts of unlawful storage of a firearm, Feuer said. He faces up to one year in jail and $2,000 in fines. On Nov. 1, 2018, Los Angeles School Police received a report from the principal at Cesar Chavez Academy in San Fernando that the defendant's son, a ninth-grade student, had threatened to bring a gun to school to shoot a classmate, Feuer said.

After receiving consent from Sanchez to search the home, officers allegedly found several unloaded and unsecured weapons including a .357 revolver found in a bag in a dresser, along with a .22 caliber handgun and a .22 caliber rifle under a mattress.

As part of the announcement, both Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian and Los Angeles Unified School Board Member Scott Schmerelson each unveiled new actions they are taking to promote gun safety. Krekorian said he will introduce a motion in City Council next week to add long guns to the city safe storage law, as currently the law only applies to handguns.

"We need to do everything in our power to raise awareness about the law requiring gun owners to safely store firearms in their home," Krekorian said. "If we get gun owners to act responsibly and follow the law, we can help prevent accidents, suicides and school shootings in our communities. We must also ensure that the law applies to all firearms so that our city and law enforcement partners have the tools they need to hold gun owners accountable and stop these types of incidents that could cause irreversible tragedy."

Schmerelson said he will introduce a motion next week to send home educational materials apprising parents of their legal obligation to safely store any firearms they possess, and have parents acknowledge they understand their responsibilities.

"I feel a deep sense of responsibility to making sure that our LAUSD students are safe and never exposed to the threat of gun violence or negligence that could have been avoided. I believe that most parents who are gun owners understand the risks that are inherent when storing a gun in their home -- but we can always do more to educate our families about the critical importance of locking up their firearms," Schmerelson said. "If we can save even one child from injury or death, our efforts will be well worth the commitment we are making today."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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